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MKT in the Heights


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I've been fascinated with the late MKT ever since I discovered an old ROW across from Memorial City Mall, but one thing that continues to confound me is MKT in the Heights: after it crosses Heights Blvd., it parallels 7th Street and cuts straight across 7th and Cortland, making two nasty railroad crossings at two ends of the intersection. While blurry aerial photos and the "property lines" on Google Maps confirm this (by the way, the house on the southwest side was built later) I just can't see this working out in 1990s Houston. (link)

1. Does anyone remember the strange/dangerous railroad crossings at Cortland and 7th? What were they like?

2. When exactly was the MKT abandoned/stripped?

3. Does anyone have any photos?

I mean, the whole thing looks just so surreal to me. I mean, just looking at Arlington Road, it's an extremely suburban-type area, and a railroad barreling through there just less than 15 years ago is...odd.

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I've been fascinated with the late MKT ever since I discovered an old ROW across from Memorial City Mall, but one thing that continues to confound me is MKT in the Heights: after it crosses Heights Blvd., it parallels 7th Street and cuts straight across 7th and Cortland, making two nasty railroad crossings at two ends of the intersection. While blurry aerial photos and the "property lines" on Google Maps confirm this (by the way, the house on the southwest side was built later) I just can't see this working out in 1990s Houston. (link)

1. Does anyone remember the strange/dangerous railroad crossings at Cortland and 7th? What were they like?

2. When exactly was the MKT abandoned/stripped?

3. Does anyone have any photos?

I mean, the whole thing looks just so surreal to me. I mean, just looking at Arlington Road, it's an extremely suburban-type area, and a railroad barreling through there just less than 15 years ago is...odd.

Iron Tiger, The Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad had its Houston yard (the Eureka Yard) smack dab in the middle of the Heights (it could be easily seen from the Dhepard Drive/Durham Street overpasses) and was, in its time, a major economic source for that area. "Miss Katy", as many railfans refer to it, was pretty typical of railroads in Houston that often had its lines run right down the middle of streets in several neighborhoods (Texas and New Orleans aka Southern Pacific did the same thing in fifth ward) with several extremely dangerous crossings.

Miss Katy was a railroad that had, quite literally, became a pale shadow barely keeping out of bankruptcy in her later years...the rolling stock and rails showed this. She was partially owned by the Missouri Pacific (MoPac) in her final years. When MoPac was merged with the Union Pacific in 1988, Miss Katy ceased to be, her flag fell, and was gone with scarcly a word and very quickly. Her rolling stock was repainted or sent to the cutters torch.

The line from Eureka down I-10 was used by the Union Pacific up until I think the mid 1990's and then was abandoned. It ultimately became part of the I-10 expansion.

It you check YouTube, there are several videos on there showing Miss Katy in operation. Several were taken in the Heights back in the day. There are many photos of her on-line, as well.

Miss Katy was my favorite railroad. I still miss her and her "John Deere" colored equipment.

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It you check YouTube, there are several videos on there showing Miss Katy in operation. Several were taken in the Heights back in the day. There are many photos of her on-line, as well.

Miss Katy was my favorite railroad. I still miss her and her "John Deere" colored equipment.

Here's the MKT blasting down the track at Barker-Cypress Rd.

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Here's the MKT blasting down the track at Barker-Cypress Rd.

Yes, but that's impossible. The train is seen going past an office building in an open area (what is "Park 10"?), a small railroad crossing, and then under a road underpass. Where would that be...?

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Yes, but that's impossible. The train is seen going past an office building in an open area (what is "Park 10"?), a small railroad crossing, and then under a road underpass. Where would that be...?

What is "impossible" about that video?

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Yes, but that's impossible. The train is seen going past an office building in an open area (what is "Park 10"?), a small railroad crossing, and then under a road underpass. Where would that be...?

Like JLWM said, it's at Barker Cypress. Park 10 is the large business complex there. I think you may have missed the very opening of the video.

Key to your question was the date....1985

That entire area out I-10 west is very different now.

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Like JLWM said, it's at Barker Cypress. Park 10 is the large business complex there. I think you may have missed the very opening of the video.

Key to your question was the date....1985

That entire area out I-10 west is very different now.

Boy how I remember that MKT line running through the Heights. One of the slowest trains I have ever witnessed. They ran through the Heights at about 5mph, or at least it seemed. The Hike and Bike Trail that runs through there now is exactly the ROW for the old line from N. Shepherd to Houston Avenue. It ran parrallel with 7th until it curved at Cortlandt, at which point it ran straight ahead past White Oak and then on across the Studewood bridge. In 1989 I was there when 2 trains collided head on to each other at that very spot. I was at an old school friend's house visiting when we heard the most God awful "boom". He lived at 10th and Heights in those apartments across the street from the Heights Food Store. (7-11 at that time) We heard it like it was right outside, and went to look. I remember telling Anthony that the train wasn't moving down there on the Katy, and that I bet it was a collision. Sure enough it was. One was coming into the Eureka Yard from DT and the other leaving Eureka heading for town. Somehow, communications between the dispatcher and the two trains got lost and hey met at the curve, ended up derailing 5 cars, and one of those boxcars actually ran into the corner of the house on the left of the track (now trail). It was shortly after that accident that UP decided to abandoned the old Katy line in favor of the SP line a few miles south that basically ran the same route, just without all of the curves. That track did a lot of stranges twists and turns. At Taylor (where Sawyer Heights is now) the track ran directly down the side of the street with the tracks basically in the front yard of those homes along the street. It then crossed Houston Ave, then under 45 along the old Moore Paper Company on Quitman and then through downtown. The old bridge north of downtown, next to the SP line is still there, although abandoned and in bad repair. The Katy continued on north of downtown, under US 59 and dumped out just east of the Union Station, crossing Texas Avenue, Dowling, St. Charles, etc. it then turned to the west (a right hand turn) across McKinney and continued west under 45 and beyond. There are still many remnants of the old Katy line along the way. Tower 13 at far west end of the yard is one of the oldest established towers in Houston, as I recall. Did you know that the bridge over Shepherd that ends just before Merchants Park was built specifically for the MKT? Now that the track is gone, there is no reason whatsoever for that bridge to exist, but of course with the MKT switching from Eureka across Shepherd in the 70's, Shepherd was backed up clear to I-10 on some occassions, while the train went back and forth switching cars. IIRC, the bridge over shepherd was built in 1982. The MKT line had several wig wags on it that are nearly non existent now. Example of that would be the St. Charles crossing, and the McKee St. crossing. It seems like Houston Ave. had wig wags at one time, but were changed to the old elevated warning lights with the cross hatch elevated as well. Those were there until just before MKT sold out to UP, at which time they were changed to the newer type warning signals. Up until about 2 years ago, the original 1950's warning lights were still there at the entrance of the yard and Cottage Grove on Kansas St. Those have now been replaced with the new LED warning lights. One of those Youtube pics show the crossings at Kansas St. with the old 50's style warning lights.

Park 10 is indeed at Bark. Cypress and Katy Fwy. It used to look the way it did on the youtube video for many years, that is until the expansion of the Katy Freeway and deletion of Old Katy Road. Now that whole area is drastically different. It doesn't even resemble the Katy Freeway of my younger years.

Oh, and the bridges you are referring to used to be there along I-10. Mason, Fry, Barker Cypress all used to go over I-10 instead of under. This way those streets were never affected by the freeway or the slow moving trains. They were all demo'ed for the Katy expansion.

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Boy how I remember that MKT line running through the Heights. One of the slowest trains I have ever witnessed. They ran through the Heights at about 5mph, or at least it seemed. The Hike and Bike Trail that runs through there now is exactly the ROW for the old line from N. Shepherd to Houston Avenue. It ran parrallel with 7th until it curved at Cortlandt, at which point it ran straight ahead past White Oak and then on across the Studewood bridge. In 1989 I was there when 2 trains collided head on to each other at that very spot. I was at an old school friend's house visiting when we heard the most God awful "boom". He lived at 10th and Heights in those apartments across the street from the Heights Food Store. (7-11 at that time) We heard it like it was right outside, and went to look. I remember telling Anthony that the train wasn't moving down there on the Katy, and that I bet it was a collision. Sure enough it was. One was coming into the Eureka Yard from DT and the other leaving Eureka heading for town. Somehow, communications between the dispatcher and the two trains got lost and hey met at the curve, ended up derailing 5 cars, and one of those boxcars actually ran into the corner of the house on the left of the track (now trail). It was shortly after that accident that UP decided to abandoned the old Katy line in favor of the SP line a few miles south that basically ran the same route, just without all of the curves. That track did a lot of stranges twists and turns. At Taylor (where Sawyer Heights is now) the track ran directly down the side of the street with the tracks basically in the front yard of those homes along the street. It then crossed Houston Ave, then under 45 along the old Moore Paper Company on Quitman and then through downtown. The old bridge north of downtown, next to the SP line is still there, although abandoned and in bad repair. The Katy continued on north of downtown, under US 59 and dumped out just east of the Union Station, crossing Texas Avenue, Dowling, St. Charles, etc. it then turned to the west (a right hand turn) across McKinney and continued west under 45 and beyond. There are still many remnants of the old Katy line along the way. Tower 13 at far west end of the yard is one of the oldest established towers in Houston, as I recall. Did you know that the bridge over Shepherd that ends just before Merchants Park was built specifically for the MKT? Now that the track is gone, there is no reason whatsoever for that bridge to exist, but of course with the MKT switching from Eureka across Shepherd in the 70's, Shepherd was backed up clear to I-10 on some occassions, while the train went back and forth switching cars. IIRC, the bridge over shepherd was built in 1982. The MKT line had several wig wags on it that are nearly non existent now. Example of that would be the St. Charles crossing, and the McKee St. crossing. It seems like Houston Ave. had wig wags at one time, but were changed to the old elevated warning lights with the cross hatch elevated as well. Those were there until just before MKT sold out to UP, at which time they were changed to the newer type warning signals. Up until about 2 years ago, the original 1950's warning lights were still there at the entrance of the yard and Cottage Grove on Kansas St. Those have now been replaced with the new LED warning lights. One of those Youtube pics show the crossings at Kansas St. with the old 50's style warning lights.

Park 10 is indeed at Bark. Cypress and Katy Fwy. It used to look the way it did on the youtube video for many years, that is until the expansion of the Katy Freeway and deletion of Old Katy Road. Now that whole area is drastically different. It doesn't even resemble the Katy Freeway of my younger years.

Oh, and the bridges you are referring to used to be there along I-10. Mason, Fry, Barker Cypress all used to go over I-10 instead of under. This way those streets were never affected by the freeway or the slow moving trains. They were all demo'ed for the Katy expansion.

This video is crossing Waverly at 7th.

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Park 10 is indeed at Bark. Cypress and Katy Fwy. It used to look the way it did on the youtube video for many years, that is until the expansion of the Katy Freeway and deletion of Old Katy Road. Now that whole area is drastically different. It doesn't even resemble the Katy Freeway of my younger years.

Oh, and the bridges you are referring to used to be there along I-10. Mason, Fry, Barker Cypress all used to go over I-10 instead of under. This way those streets were never affected by the freeway or the slow moving trains. They were all demo'ed for the Katy expansion.

I see! I was thinking that the MKT crossed them at grade. I don't have Google Earth 5 installed on my computer (because of slowness and a messed-up motherboard that ruins graphics) but if I looked again on the other computer with GE5, the 1978 shot would've shown it.

According to Google Maps, the bridges that the MKT crossed are all still intact (but the ties have since been removed for the Heights Bike Trail, sadly)

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I see! I was thinking that the MKT crossed them at grade. I don't have Google Earth 5 installed on my computer (because of slowness and a messed-up motherboard that ruins graphics) but if I looked again on the other computer with GE5, the 1978 shot would've shown it.

According to Google Maps, the bridges that the MKT crossed are all still intact (but the ties have since been removed for the Heights Bike Trail, sadly)

The bridges in the Heights are still there. The ones that paralleled I-10, to the best of my knowledge are gone. There was a long tressel over BW8 at Town & Country (concrete) which was removed, and one just past Bingle (it was a wooden one) that is also gone. The bridges over the bayou, Studewood and under I-45 are all still the original wooden bridges used my the MKT, just updated to accomodate the hike trail.

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The bridges in the Heights are still there. The ones that paralleled I-10, to the best of my knowledge are gone. There was a long tressel over BW8 at Town & Country (concrete) which was removed, and one just past Bingle (it was a wooden one) that is also gone. The bridges over the bayou, Studewood and under I-45 are all still the original wooden bridges used my the MKT, just updated to accomodate the hike trail.

Yeah, the I-10 ones are gone. In the Google Maps shot, the BW8 one remained even after the intersection was redone in the early 1990s, but met death in the second reconstruction in the 2000s. The wooden MKT bridges in the Heights were often subject to arson attempts, I heard.

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Yeah, the I-10 ones are gone. In the Google Maps shot, the BW8 one remained even after the intersection was redone in the early 1990s, but met death in the second reconstruction in the 2000s. The wooden MKT bridges in the Heights were often subject to arson attempts, I heard.

Yep, this is true. Happened to the long bridge over White Oak Bayou on more than one occassion. Never seen the overpass of Studewood subject to any firebug, but the White Oak Bayou bridge was set on fire twice that I can recollect. Back in the 70's, a boy was trying to beat the train across Heights Blvd. and 7th street. He tripped over the grade and fell straight across the tracks. Amputated both of his legs. This, and the head on collision in '89 were the two biggest tragedies that I can remember from the Katy line. Worst train wreck involving a vehicle was in the 80's at Bingle Road and I-10. Passenger truck was stuck across the rails in traffic when the gates lowered. He had no where to go and the train plowed into him. He ended up all the way down to the driveway for the business park some 1/4 mile down the track. It was after that incident that Katy Freeway's traffic signal were set to blink red once the railroad warning gates activated. I had a cousin that lived on Frazier St. just off of White Oak. The track ran basically right next to his house, so when we'd visit him and my aunt and uncle, we'd sneak off to the track and lay down objects for the train to run over. Many nickels and pennies met their flattening fate on the MKT rail. Had we been caught, our fate would have been a long switch to the rear. Ah, but I still fondly look back at times like that as the good old days.

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It was after that incident that Katy Freeway's traffic signal were set to blink red once the railroad warning gates activated.

On a slightly related note, I thought that the gates at what I think is the access road for Barker-Cypress Road (now gone, but Google Maps still traces it) went down awfully late for the train rolling down...

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On a slightly related note, I thought that the gates at what I think is the access road for Barker-Cypress Road (now gone, but Google Maps still traces it) went down awfully late for the train rolling down...

At least they had gates. A lot of the crossings on the Katy had nothing but the cross hatches. Others had warning lights, but no gate. Coming from Downtown, Houston Ave. was warning lights only, Taylor was lights only, every street between the two had hatches. White Oak was originally lights only, but switched to gates sometime in the early 90's after UP took over. Heights was gated, but Cortlandt, Harvard, Arlington, Columbia, and Oxford were all hatches. Yale was gated, Shepherd was gated, Kansas was lights only. 610 feeder was gated, Post Oak was too. I think all the main streets crossing 10 had gates, but it seems like Witte was the one with the wig-wag. I can't remember. There was one intersection right there that had the wig-wag, but I'm not certain it was Witte. Whatever that street is right before Academy on the opposite side of the freeway may have been the one I'm thinking of.

The thing I didn't like about MKT's crossing signals is that as soon as the train passed, the gates and warning signals shut completely off. As they raised they were dark, and there were occasions that the gate would get stuck, and with no lights blinking someone would fly down one of the streets and take the gate with them. I saw this at night on Heights Blvd. on more than one occassion. That and the fact that most of their warning signals were still there from when they were installed back in the 40's and 50's. Take a drive down Hempstead Highway sometime. Just past Dacoma, you will see one of the old style warning lights on the SB side of the Highway, which once led to a warehouse spur. This is what most all crossings of the MKT had for warning signals. The only other rail I've ever seen with warning devices as ancient as that are the ones that grace the old line parralleling Hwy 3 to Galveston. Now that UP owns that line, I have noticed that rail's signals are slowly but surely being replaced as well.

For the younger folks in the crowd imagine, if you will, the amount of traffic Interstate 10 has on it at about 5pm every weekday. Then run a slow moving train across every single intersection parralleling I-10, disallowing any traffic from moving northbound until the train passed. Now, picture this happening every singal day without fail. If you think I-10 is bad now, I have some stories that you would never believe. Picture cars bumper to bumper from I-10 clear down to Memorial at some more heavily travelled streets like Gessner. Best thing that ever happened to Spring Branch was losing the Katy line next to I-10.

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About Dacoma, it's a bit hard to see on Google Maps, but it resembles a railroad crossing thing with one light.

Is this what it looks like (sort of?) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wigwag_signals_near_Devil%27s_Lake.jpg

On a slightly related note, said railroad spur goes straight to where St. Arnold's Brewery is (was?)

Was 7th Street (near the Cortland crossing) lit at all?

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About Dacoma, it's a bit hard to see on Google Maps, but it resembles a railroad crossing thing with one light.

Is this what it looks like (sort of?) http://en.wikipedia....il%27s_Lake.jpg

On a slightly related note, said railroad spur goes straight to where St. Arnold's Brewery is (was?)

Was 7th Street (near the Cortland crossing) lit at all?

Yep, that's the one. It had two warning lights at one time, but a few years after SP abandoned the spur someone ran into it and knocked it over. It sat on the ground in pieces for another year before someone finally came along and discarded it. The spur was dedicated to the line of warehouses just east of Hempstead Hwy, and you may be right about the brewery. I can not attest to that.

Nice pic of the wig-wags. Those kind were never in Houston to the best of my knowledge. The wig wags we had here were standard cross hatches with a simple round one bulb lit wig wag swinging from beneath. No type of "piping" around it like illustrated in your pic. Where are those wig-wags located in your pic? I've seen quite a few variations of these warning signals, but your picture is a new type to me. They must not have had any of these down here in Houston.

7th street never had any type of warning device. It was always a simple cross hatch attached to a metal pole. One of both sides of the track. Certainly had to pay attention crossing 7th, Harvard, or Cortlandt since you couldn't see around the curve, and the engineers didn't just lay on the horns as they went through the Heights. It was always a quick "toot, toooot" and done. The engines at that time didn't have the amount of lights on it that they do now either. A single bright white light at the top of the cab was about it. Wish I knew where there were any of the old MKT engines still in operation. I haven't seen one in years. Back to the signals of the Katy, only the main thoroughfares such as Heights, Yale, etc. were lit. Do you see how close the tracks were to the surface street of 7th? It was always a little nerve racking when the Katy chugged by you within arms reach.

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Iron Tiger: the following link illustrates the type of wig-wags that were used. Pics 1&2 are the same type, pic 5 down on the BNSF (the one in Vista, Ca.) is an exact model of the one I am thinking of that was on Witte. This type of wig-wag was also on several crossings along the SP line just south parralleling Washington. I believe the last wig-wag in Houston was located on National St. behind the metal recylcers. It was replaced sometime in the late 90's.

http://www.trainweb.org/dansrailpix/WIG_WAG_photos1.htm

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Iron Tiger: the following link illustrates the type of wig-wags that were used. Pics 1&2 are the same type, pic 5 down on the BNSF (the one in Vista, Ca.) is an exact model of the one I am thinking of that was on Witte. This type of wig-wag was also on several crossings along the SP line just south parralleling Washington. I believe the last wig-wag in Houston was located on National St. behind the metal recylcers. It was replaced sometime in the late 90's.

http://www.trainweb....WAG_photos1.htm

Better yet, here are several pics of the wig-wag at National St. at Washington Avenue. This is the exact type of wig-wag used all along the SP route, and the various Katy crossings.

http://www.trainweb.org/dansrailpix/houston9.jpg

http://www.trainweb.org/dansrailpix/houston7.jpg

http://www.trainweb.org/dansrailpix/houston4.jpg

http://www.trainweb.org/dansrailpix/houston3.jpg

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Yep, that's the one. It had two warning lights at one time, but a few years after SP abandoned the spur someone ran into it and knocked it over. It sat on the ground in pieces for another year before someone finally came along and discarded it. The spur was dedicated to the line of warehouses just east of Hempstead Hwy, and you may be right about the brewery. I can not attest to that.

Nice pic of the wig-wags. Those kind were never in Houston to the best of my knowledge. The wig wags we had here were standard cross hatches with a simple round one bulb lit wig wag swinging from beneath. No type of "piping" around it like illustrated in your pic. Where are those wig-wags located in your pic? I've seen quite a few variations of these warning signals, but your picture is a new type to me. They must not have had any of these down here in Houston.

7th street never had any type of warning device. It was always a simple cross hatch attached to a metal pole. One of both sides of the track. Certainly had to pay attention crossing 7th, Harvard, or Cortlandt since you couldn't see around the curve, and the engineers didn't just lay on the horns as they went through the Heights. It was always a quick "toot, toooot" and done. The engines at that time didn't have the amount of lights on it that they do now either. A single bright white light at the top of the cab was about it. Wish I knew where there were any of the old MKT engines still in operation. I haven't seen one in years. Back to the signals of the Katy, only the main thoroughfares such as Heights, Yale, etc. were lit. Do you see how close the tracks were to the surface street of 7th? It was always a little nerve racking when the Katy chugged by you within arms reach.

- Well, the spur does go behind where St. Arnold's Brewing Company was as of June 2009 (I don't know if they've moved yet)

- According to satellite imagery, it looks like said spur was abandoned in the early 1990s.

- From Google Maps, it does look like 7th Street was dangerously close to the railroad.

- I just saw a video of wigwags in action. It looks a little disorienting (a moving, flashing red light at night...that's crazy!)

- At Old Katy Rd., it looks like the railroad ROW is way too close to the road, but it seems that they expanded post-abandonment.

- The railroads were at least intact in 1995. By 2002 it was completely gone. Scars existed (such as Gessner Rd.) I'd still like to know the abandonment date.

At least now I know the main reasons for the MKT's abandonment.

1. Redundant trackage

2. Traffic problems with road

3. Dangerous and antiquated crossings.

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- Well, the spur does go behind where St. Arnold's Brewing Company was as of June 2009 (I don't know if they've moved yet)

- According to satellite imagery, it looks like said spur was abandoned in the early 1990s.

- From Google Maps, it does look like 7th Street was dangerously close to the railroad.

- I just saw a video of wigwags in action. It looks a little disorienting (a moving, flashing red light at night...that's crazy!)

- At Old Katy Rd., it looks like the railroad ROW is way too close to the road, but it seems that they expanded post-abandonment.

- The railroads were at least intact in 1995. By 2002 it was completely gone. Scars existed (such as Gessner Rd.) I'd still like to know the abandonment date.

At least now I know the main reasons for the MKT's abandonment.

1. Redundant trackage

2. Traffic problems with road

3. Dangerous and antiquated crossings.

The Hempstead Hwy spur past Dacoma was abandoned in the 80's. Late 80's as I recall. The track remained connected to the main line until the mid 90's, but sat unused. I'm not sure exactly when the disconnected it from the main line, but it was around 1997. This is also about the time that the 11th street Katy spur was disconnected from the mainline of the Katy.

Let me tell you, those wig-wags were really cool to me as a boy, especially at night. Even now in my older years, I wish I had one of them for my very own. Another relic that is slowly fading away.

You are right about the closeness of the road, at least now. Keep in mind, Old Katy Rd. was widened quite a bit after the tracks were removed and the subsequent expansion of I-10 itself. It also was shortened way down to that little section of Old Katy from Hempstead Hwy. to Post Oak. You may be too young to remember it, Tiger, but Old Katy Rd used to keep going...well to Katy. Later on it dead-ended, I think, at Kirkwood. Where that two lane road used to be is approximately the far right lane of the westbound feeder and the grass median next to it. The tracks were definitely where the feeder runs now.

Abandonment of the MKT line used by the Union Pacific was in 1997. The year after they acquired Southern Pacific and the double line running parallel with Washington Avenue. Like you stated, this was done due to the tracks redundancy with the SP line. They also removed the switch yard at Harvard on the SP line that same year. Not sure what specific date the Katy line was taken out of use, but it was abandoned in the spring. I remember it being rather hot weather as they began to remove the rails. The line from Katy-Hockley to 610 was removed first. They left the rail up to I-610 for about 2 months as they cleared the switch yard behind Cottage Grove. Once this was done, and the tracks of the yard were reconfigured this small section was also removed and the line was curved and connected to the UP main at tower 13. The rails were then removed from the Heights to Downtown within the next 2 months. The last part of the old Katy line was not removed until Enron Field was built. They sat there abandoned for a couple of more years, and there is still one small section of Katy ROW just east of downtown. It is paved over at Dowling, but the tracks are still there, as well as some of the older warning signals. At least those that haven't been heisted. If you have the time, take a trip to the East End and go S. on Dowling. You will cross the Katy line just before McKinney. Turn left on McKinney and the track will run directly to your left until it CROSSES McKinney just before Sampson St. Now, the track has been removed just before McKinney. It will be obvious where the track once ran, as there is an incline still left in McKinney. As you'll see, the ROW runs clear under I-45 and beyond. Not sure where all the track used to go after it crossed under 45 south.

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I'm mostly exploring and finding history via Google Earth and Street View, because the MKT just didn't run in areas that I've been in Houston. When I was younger, I didn't pay much attention to the railroads below (I wouldn't have seen it easily going past the 610 exchange), the inner-city parts were areas not explored (except for the museums), and by the time I got to driving on I-10, the MKT grade was completely gone. It was basically gone before I knew it.

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I'm mostly exploring and finding history via Google Earth and Street View, because the MKT just didn't run in areas that I've been in Houston. When I was younger, I didn't pay much attention to the railroads below (I wouldn't have seen it easily going past the 610 exchange), the inner-city parts were areas not explored (except for the museums), and by the time I got to driving on I-10, the MKT grade was completely gone. It was basically gone before I knew it.

Best of luck to you in finding additional information on the Katy line. It holds a special place in my heart, and I'm sure others that grew up watching that train chugging along through the Heights. It's getting harder and harder to see where the MKT's ROW was with every year that passes.

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As somebody previously mentioned, the line along I-10 was used 'til about 1997. In the mid to late '90's, all the trains I saw passing through the Spring Branch area travelled at speeds of 10mph or less.

I haven't seen it mentioned, but Eureka Yard still exists and is in use.... in fact it had some major track work and renovations in the last couple years. You can see it if you look west while travelling over the yard on the T.C. Jester overpass. The yard is used for storing cars for a couple of cement plant type industries nearby, and also apparently for staging switching operations on the line heading out Hempstead Hwy.

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It is implied in this thread that toward The End, the tracks were in really bad condition. Can anyone confirm this?

I'm afraid so. Not only was the trackage a "derailment waiting to happen" in a lot of areas but a lot of equipment and rolling stock had seen its days as well.

Miss Katy was, for all intents and purposes, "operating on life support".

For myself, it was heart breaking...especially when watching an MKT GP locomotive barely making speed, even in the open.

Of all the railroads operating in Houston at that time (MP, RI, SP, SSW, BN) only Miss Katy and the ATSF could boast the most colorful equipment.

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